You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

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Location: Vancouver, WA, United States

There are some things going on in this world that bother me ... that offend me ... that don't make sense, and never will. I dedicate this site to those who seek truth even where it is difficult to find, and who are willing to agree and disagree in principle, while steadfastly refusing to let irrelevant detail overshadow core truth.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are we friends?

There is a wonderful poem written by James Kavanaugh in the early ‘70s that I once shared with most of my close friends. In retrospect, I suspect their responses were a gauge to the truth of our bond. Some cried and looked toward me with love in their eyes and, interestingly, I still count them as close friends. One asked if I was really that insecure, and now, some 30 years later, I can’t recall what became of her after that specific moment. Now, after all this time, we have become reacquainted, and I would like to share it with you and hopefully not violate Mr. Kavanaugh’s rights in so doing. Give it a read – then let’s chat.

Will You Be My Friend?
- James Kavanaugh

There are so many reasons why you never should:
I'm sometimes sullen, often shy, acutely sensitive,
My fear erupts as anger, I find it hard to give,
I talk about myself when I'm afraid
And often spend the day without anything to say

But I will make you laugh
And love you quite a bit
And hold you when you're sad.
I cry a little almost every day
Because I'm more caring than the strangers ever know,
And, if at times, I show my tender side
(The soft and warmer part I hide)
I wonder
Will you be my friend?
A friend
Who far beyond the feebleness of any vow or tie
Will touch the secret place where I am really I,
To know the pain of lips that plead and eyes that weep,
Who will not run away when you find me in the street
Alone and lying mangled by my quota of defeats
But will stop and stay - to tell me of another day
When I was beautiful.

Will you be my friend?
There are so many reasons why you never should;
Often I'm too serious, seldom predictable the same,
Sometimes cold and distant, probably I'll always change.
I bluster and brag, seek attention like a child.
I brood and pout, my anger can be wild,
But I will make you laugh
And love you quite a bit
And be near when you're afraid.
I shake a little almost every day
Because I'm more frightened than the strangers ever know

And if at times I show my trembling side
(The anxious, fearful part I hide)
I wonder,
Will you be my friend?
A friend
Who, when I fear your closeness, feels me push away
And stubbornly will stay to share what's left on such a day
Who, when no one knows my name or calls me on the phone,
When there's no concern for me - what I have or haven't done -
And those I've helped and counted on have,
oh so deftly, run.
Who, when there's nothing left but me,
Stripped of charm and subtlety,
Will nonetheless remain.

Will you be my friend?
For no reason that I know
Except I want you so.

First, a smattering of random questions:

How did you feel as you were reading it? Did your emotions ebb and flow. Did the lack of poetic structure limit your enjoyment? Must you be insecure to appreciate the sentiment … to feel it; or is vulnerable a better word? Are you in touch with your vulnerabilities; more, or less so when you read this poem? Does this lead you to want to know more about the author; more about yourself? What is a friend? Must it be given and received in equal measure? Can you, should you even attempt to measure it; to what purpose? Must one constantly like a friend, or respect him or her? Ah, can one have a friend of the opposite sex, either “with or without benefits”? Do you ever take stock of your friends, past and present? If one once had a friend who has drifted away, was he really a friend; is she still? Does friendship demand agreement, or accord in things politic or regarding fundamental beliefs?

I recently reconnected with an old and dear friend from 50 years ago. We were very close in high school but lost touch when we graduated and went out into our respective lives. We were very different in so many ways then, yet bound by several unarticulated common interests. He bright, good student, gregarious – but one who was the supporter; a campaign manager for life. I tended to be more of a mixed-bag of characteristics; mingled with the ethnic disparity of what was Hawaii in the late ‘50s. I was more of a lazy student; but not one to party too heartily.

He has since become a Baptist minister and I, pretty much a high-tech geek. We’ve both expressed the desire to reconnect and have begun the process through the various on-line socializing resources. The question in my mind, and I suspect in his as well: if we lived on the same street, would we socialize; would our bond be as strong as it was then? Have the years and paths of our respective lives taken either of us to a point just out of reach of the other? Have either of our minds closed a bit too much? Do the issues we hold dear mean so much that, differing on any would erect an impenetrable barrier?

In my life, there have been some whose paths and mine have seemed to be at one, only to part after years of inseparable bond; some for reasons of distance and poor communication habits, some for differences in point-of-view. Yet, there have been moments since when happenstance has placed us in the same space, and we picked up almost exactly where we left off – the years and space between us completely dissolved, if only for that brief moment. I left assured that it could happen enumerable times in the future, yet with the realization that we didn’t have to force it to be.

A contemporary humorist says that a stranger is only a friend that you haven’t met yet. There are few people I have ever encountered that I could say that I didn’t like. I suppose if I were to examine that, it might be more truthful to say that I would have difficulty appreciating their point-of-view, abiding by their ethics or political posture. Truth is that I never got to know any of them sufficiently to determine the degree of like or dislike.

When I started out on this page, it never occurred to me that this was a very deep, nearly limitless topic. So, I’ll stop here with the expectation that more will be added later, either of my own volition or driven by any comments offered along the way.

Will you be my friend?